Diego Schwartzman to Face Novak Djokovic in First Group Stage Match at Maiden ATP Finals

Diego Schwartzman is preparing for the big dance…

The 28-year-old Argentine professional tennis player, who clinched the final spot at the prestigious season-ending ATP Finals, will play ATP Tour World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in his first group stage match.

Diego Schwartzman

Schwartzman, competing in his first-ever ATP Finals, will be the first Argentine player to compete at the tournament since Juan Martin del Potro in 2013.

Schwartzman is the eighth singles player from Argentina to feature in the 50-year history of the tournament, following in the footsteps of 1974 titlist Guillermo Vilas (1974-77, ’79-82), Jose-Luis Clerc (1980-83), Guillermo Coria (2003-05), 2005 champion David Nalbandian (2003, ’05-06), Gaston Gaudio (2004-05), Mariano Puerta (2005) and 2009 runner-up del Potro (2008-09, ’12-13).

Schwartzman joins fellow debutant Andrey Rublev of Russia, alongside former qualifiers  Djokovic of Serbia, Spain’s Rafael NadalDominic Thiem of Austria, Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and Germany’s Alexander Zverev in the 2020 singles field.

There will be four players aged 24 and under at the ATP Finals for the second straight year. The last time this happened in back-to-back years was in 2008-09.

Schwartzman broke into the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings for the first time at No. 8 on 12 October after a run to his first Grand Slam championship semi-final at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal). A few weeks earlier, the Buenos Aires resident beat  Nadal en route to his first ATP Masters 1000 final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome (l. to Djokovic).

As the first Argentine in the Top 10 since del Potro in May 2019, Schwartzman also finished runner-up at two ATP 250 events in a reduced 2020 season — at the Cordoba Open (l. to Garin) in February and at the bett1HULKS Championship runner-up in Cologne (l. to Zverev) in October.

At 5’7”, Schwartzman is the shortest player in the Top 10 since 5’6″ Harold Solomon, whose last week in the Top 10 began on 27 July 1981.

Rafael Nadal to Face Pablo Carreno Busta in His Return to ATP Tour at the Italian Open

Rafael Nadal is heading back to competitive tennis play…

The 34-year-old tennis star will make his return to the ATP Tour against US Open semifinalist Pablo Carreno Busta at the Italian Open in Rome.

Rafael Nadal

In his first appearance since the ATP Tour suspension in March, the nine-time titlist will need to be at the top of his game when he meets his countryman for the sixth time in their head-to-head series (Nadal leads 5-0).

Carreno Busta has made a strong return to the ATP Tour, reaching his second US Open semi-final earlier this week. The Spaniard also lifted his maiden doubles trophy at the Western & Southern Open last month.

Nadal and Carreno Busta most recently met in the third round of this year’s Australian Open, with Nadal winning in straight sets. If he gets past Carreno Busta, he could meet Western & Southern Open finalist Milos Raonic in the third round. Nadal shares the bottom quarter of the draw with eighth seed Diego Schwartzman and US Open quarterfinalist Andrey Rublev.

The five-time year-end World No. 1 enters Rome with a 13-3 record this year. At his most recent event in February, Nadal did not drop a set en route to his 85th tour-level trophy at the Acapulco Open in Mexico.

Chasing his 10th title at the Foro Italico, the Spaniard will look to add to his 61-6 record at the ATP Masters 1000 event. Nadal is currently on a 10-match winning streak in Rome, having won the past two editions of the tournament. The 35-time ATP Masters 1000 winner won three-set battles against Alexander Zverev in the 2018 championship match and Novak Djokovic in last year’s final.

If Nadal triumphs for the third straight year in Rome, he will capture a 10th trophy at a single event for the fourth time in his career. He owns 12 French Open trophies and has won 11 crowns at both the Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona OpenRoger Federer is the only other player to have reached double digits at a single ATP Tour event in the Open Era. He owns 10 trophies at the Noventi Open in Halle and the Swiss Indoors Basel.

Bruno Soares Wins Men’s Doubles Title at US Open with New Partner Mate Pavic

Bruno Soares is back in the winner’s circle at Flushing Meadows.

The 38-year-old Brazilian tennis player and Mate Pavic won their first Grand Slam championship as a team on Thursday, beating Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic 7-5, 6-3 to take home the US Open trophy.

Bruno Soares & Mate Pavic

“It means a lot. That’s what we practice for. That’s what we were trying to do in these five months off, working for this moment,” Soares said on court after the match. “Extremely happy. Tough year for everyone. Really glad the work that everyone put into this event to give us the opportunity to get back on the court. To start with a Grand Slam title, I think it’s a very positive way to come back for us.”

Pavic and Soares lost in the first round of the Western & Southern Open, the first tournament since the ATP Tour resumed. But they battled past four former US Open champions en route to earning the title at the same venue, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Both men had previously captured Grand Slam glory, with Soares winning the 2016 Australian Open and US Open with Jamie Murray, while Pavic triumphed at the 2018 Australian Open with Oliver Marach.

This is their second tour-level victory together after winning last year’s Shanghai Masters.

Pavic and Soares were both the more dynamic and solid team inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. Pavic wreaked havoc with his big serve and flashy shotmaking, while Soares made few mistakes and forced their opponents to hit difficult shots.

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina Notches Best Ever Grand Slam Performance with Third Round Win at US Open

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina is boldly going where he hasn’t gone before…

The 21-year-old Spanish tennis player defeated Cameron Norrie 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in two hours and 43 minutes on Friday in the third round at the US Open.

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina

Davidovich Fokina showed little sign of nerves during the match as he booked a place in the fourth round in his US Open debut, as he registered his best ever performance at a Grand Slam championship. His previously best was a Second Round appearance at this year’s Australian Open.

Davidovich Fokina, who has admitted that he learned a lot from hitting with World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Marbella during the five-month ATP Tour suspension, won eight straight games against Norrie from 1-2 in the third set to a 3-0 lead in the fourth set.

The World No. 99 beat Dennis Novak in the first round and No. 24 seed Hubert Hurkacz in the second round at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, having lost in the first round of qualifying at the Western & Southern Open.

He’ll next play Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals.

Alex de Minaur & Pablo Carreno Busta Claim Western & Southern Open Men’s Doubles Title in Team Debut

It’s a debut to remember for Alex de Minaur and Pablo Carreno Busta

The 21-year-old Uruguayan/Spanish-Australian tennis player and his 29-year-old Spanish doubles partner completed their team debut week by lifting the Western & Southern Open title on Saturday.

Alex de Minaur & Pablo Carreno Busta

After breaking serve at 5-5 in the second set, rain forced the unseeded duo to wait until the conclusion of the singles final to complete a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

De Minaur and Carreno Busta, who trailed 0-4 in the second set, held their nerves to hold serve on the deciding point and claim their maiden ATP Tour doubles trophies after 83 minutes.

Carreno Busta was competing in his fourth tour-level doubles final, while de Minaur was making his debut in an ATP Tour doubles championship match.

Alex de Minaur & Pablo Carreno Busta

“It was a good week for us,” said Carreno Busta. “We lost in the singles and we just tried to continue to play matches. It is important for us to get rhythm, to get confidence and I think the doubles, on this occasion, was good for this.

“We didn’t expect to arrive to a final and win the tournament, but we played the last matches better than the first ones.”

de Minaur and Carreno Busta have impressed from their first match at the ATP Masters 1000 event. The team upset defending champions Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek in the first round and also beat eighth seeds Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic en route to the championship match.

“It is a great feeling [to be back on the ATP Tour]. I am very happy to be back on court and hopefully this week in doubles can give me some confidence and momentum going into next week,” said de Minaur.

Murray and Skupski were also attempting to capture their first ATP Tour doubles trophy as a team. The Brits began their partnership by winning the Arizona Tennis Classic — an ATP Challenger Tour event — in March 2019.

After four service holds to open the final, de Minaur and Carreno Busta played the better tennis in crucial moments to earn four consecutive games and the first set. Carreno Busta flicked a pinpoint lob over Skupski’s head to reach deciding point at 2-2 and the Brit volleyed beyond the baseline to concede the break. de Minaur and Carreno Busta capitalized on Skupski double faults to gain a second break, before clinching the set after 30 minutes with a de Minaur service hold.

Murray and Skupski responded quickly in the second set, extracting multiple errors from Carreno Busta’s backhand and showcasing quick reactions at the net to earn a 4-0 lead. But Carreno Busta and de Minaur charged back and earned their third break of the set at 5-5 when Skupski fired long with a backhand approach shot. After an extended rain delay and a court switch to Louis Armstrong Stadium, the debut team captured the trophy on deciding point when Carreno Busta landed a forehand volley winner.

Carreno Busta and de Minaur earn 1000 FedEx ATP Doubles Ranking points and share $80,000 in prize money. Murray and Skupski earn 600 points and split $68,000.

Cristian Garin Defeats Borna Coric to Reach Rio Open Final

It’s a personal best for Cristian Garin

Following a rain delay, the 23-year-old Chilean tennis player defeated fifth seed Borna Coric 6-4, 7-5in the semifinalsat the Rio Open to log a personal best eighth consecutive match win.

Cristian Garin

Garin, the tournament’s third seed, slept on a 6-4, 4-4 advantage, with rain suspending play. He wasted little time completing his victory, needing just four games on Sunday to reach his fifth ATP Tourfinal (3-1). All five of his tour-level championship matches have come in the past year.

Garin faced a break point in the first game of the resumption, but he was able to maintain his poise and advance after one hour and 44 minutes.

The recent Cordoba Open champion will face Italian qualifier Gianluca Mager or Hungarian lucky loser Attila Balazs.

Cristian Garin Defeats Diego Schwartzman to Win Cordoba Open

Cristian Garinis celebrating his first title of the year…

The 23-year-old Chilean tennis player won the third ATP Tour title of his career on Sunday, coming back from a set down for the third consecutive match to beat top seed Diego Schwartzman 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 in central Argentina’s Cordoba Open.

Cristian Garin

After a slow start, Garin overpowered the home favorite, stepping into the court to put the Argentine on the defense and leave him gasping for air.

The home crowd tried to will their man to his first title on home soil, but Garin played fearlessly in the second and third sets, hitting lines and never backing down against the 27-year-old Buenos Aires native.

“Argentina is like my second home… I did not expect to win and I am very happy of course,” said Garin. “I’ve won three tournaments in 11 months, its quite a cool thing.”

Garin improved to 3-1 in ATP Tour finals, all of which have come in the past 12 months. The Chilean was off to a dismal start in 2020 before Cordoba, going 0-3 at the ATP Cupand falling in the second round of the Australian Open(l. to Raonic).

But Garin ended 2019 as one of the premier clay-court players on the ATP Tour and has started 2020 the exact same way.

“I always thought I could turn the match and win,” said Garin. “That’s how it has been all week for me and it’s what I value most. I think I’m having my best moment but I have a lot to improve.”

He will receive 250 ATP Rankings points and $91,625 in prize money. Schwartzman, who fell to 3-5 in ATP Tour finals, will take home $50,710 in prize money and 150 ATP Rankings points.

Alex de Minaur Reaches Semifinals at the Next Gen ATP Finals

Alex de Minaur is on to the next…

The 20-year-old Uruguayan and Spanish-Australian tennis phenom, the top seed at this year’s Next Gen ATP Finals, has advanced to the semifinals at the tournament after producing his best performance of the week.

Alex de Minaur

de Minaur fired 23 winners to reach the semifinals with a 4-1, 4-0, 4-2 win over Norway’s Casper Ruud in just 61 minutes.

de Minaur clinched his spot in the last four after winning the opening set against Ruud. The Aussie finished 3-0 in Group A, marking the second straight year he’s gone undefeated in round-robin play at the event. 

His victory marked a record-breaking seventh win in Milan, breaking a tie with Andrey Rublev. Meanwhile, Ruud has been eliminated after dropping to 1-2.

“I knew from playing Casper before that he’d dictate any short ball without a purpose,” De Minaur said. “The game plan was to play on my own terms, play aggressively, play different styles of tennis. The goal I had was [to take] any half-chance, go up and back myself at the net. I’m glad it worked out today. I’m looking forward to the semi-finals.”

de Minaur arrived in Milan at a career-high No. 18 in the ATP world rankings. He used the momentum from his runner-up finish at last year’s event to spur a breakout season that includes his first three ATP Tour titles at the Sydney InternationalBB&T Atlanta Open and Huajin Securities Zhuhai Championships. He further proved his mettle indoors by reaching the final two weeks ago at the Swiss Indoors Basel, losing to Roger Federer.

He’ll next face USA’s Frances Tiafoe in the semifinals.

Pablo Carreño Busta Defeats Alexander Bublik to Win Chengdu Open Title

The dry spell is over for Pablo Carreño Busta

The 28-year-old Spanish tennis player beat Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (3) to win the title at the Chengdu Open.

Pablo Carreno Busta

Carreño Bustafaced 31 aces from Bublik before capturing his fourth career title, and his first in more than two years.

“I just tried to continue working hard because I know when you work and do as much as possible, normally you have the prize,” Carreño Bustasaid. “Now I am here with the trophy (after) winning my fourth ATP Tourtitle and for me it is the reason to continue fighting and playing this sport.”

Carreño Busta’s last title came in May 2017 when he defeated Gilles Müllerto win the Estoril Open.

Pablo Carreno Busta Beats Denis Shapovalov to Advance to Chengdu Open Final

Pablo Carreno Bustais finally back in a men’s final…

The 28-year-old Spanish professional tennis player produced a clinical display to beat Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-4 at the Chengdu Open on Saturday, setting up a final against Alexander Bublik.

Pablo Carreno Busta

Eighth seed Shapovalov fired down 12 aces and won 21 of his 29 first-serve points but Carreno Busta made the most of his limited opportunities, converting a break point in each set to claim victory in just over an hour.

Sunday’s final will be Carreno Busta’s first since 2017 as he snapped a six-match losing streak in ATP Tour semifinals.

“I lost (semi-finals) in Antalya and Hamburg this year. Finally, I can win a semi-final to be in a final,” he said.

“In the first game of the match, I saved two break points and maybe it was the key… He served really good during a lot of the match, but in the two games where I had break points, I broke serve.”

Bublik, who beat Grigor Dimitrovon Friday after saving two match points, overpowered South Africa’s Lloyd Harrisin a 7-6(6) 6-4 in the other semifinal.

Bublik and Carreno Busta have played just once before on the Tour, a 2016 clash in Moscow where the Spaniard prevailed in three sets.

“Alex is a tough player,” said Carreno Busta. “He serves really well with his first and second serves… I need to be very focused, try to win my service games and then wait for the moment and take advantage of my opportunities.”